Posted: 1:58 pm Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
By Jeff Greer
UPDATED on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m.
Glades Central Athletics Director Edwin James said Wednesday that former NFL player and Glades Central alum Roosevelt Blackmon has been hired as Glades Central’s new head football coach.
Blackmon replaces Jessie Hester, who was fired Dec. 17, less than a week after Glades Central lost its second consecutive state final. The school cited concerns about the academic performance of Hester’s players, which he denied.
The 36-year-old Blackmon coached at Glades Central as an assistant to Larry Coffey, taking over with Mickey Freeman as an interim co-head coach in the spring of 2005 until the school hired Willie Snead. Blackmon and Freeman coached Glades Central through its spring-practice period that year. He came back to Glades Central as an assistant athletics director before the 2010-11 school year, and has been helping James with recruiting since Hester’s dismissal.
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
“He was just the best candidate,” James said. “I want him to be able to develop players and not just get top-tier athletes in school, but everybody get into school.”
Players reached Tuesday were excited about Blackmon’s hiring.
“I think he would be great for the job,” one player said.
Another player said Blackmon was “who we all wanted.”
“The kids do like him,” James said. “A lot of the kids have known him all their life.”
There were rumors for some time that Blackmon, who played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals, was the odds-on favorite for the job. Blackmon has been called the “Real-Life Waterboy” in reference to his unprecedented rise from non-football recruit and assistant equipment manager at Morris Brown College to the NFL.
The search was dwindled down to eight coaches on Monday, and they were interviewed by a panel of school administration members, community leaders and James.
“They were very thorough,” said one candidate who was interviewed. “I had eight people interview me.”
Blackmon inherits one of the most talented teams in the state. Glades Central returns many of its top players from last year’s Class 2A runner-up, including receiver Jaime Wilson, linebackers Dominique Gibson, Jatavis Brown and Don’Kevious Johnson, defensive backs Crevon LeBlanc, Will Likley, David Bailey and John Brockman, and running back Aaron Baker, among others.